The SLFG had an excellent trip to Grimesthorpe Park last Saturday 12th May, accompanied by the ranger, Chris Howes who showed us round some very high quality areas of limestone grassland, with plenty of characteristic herbaceous species including Horseshoe Vetch Hippocrepis comosa, Small Scabious Scabiosa columbaria, Hairy Violet Viola hirta, Carline Thistle Carlina vulgaris, Stemless Thistle Cirsium acaule, Field Mouse-ear Cerastium arvense, Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomeratum, Spring Sedge Carex caryophyllea, Salad Burnet Poterium sanguisorba, Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium, Common Milkwort Polygala vulgaris and Hairy Hawkbit Leontodon hispidus.
The grass flora was also very varied, with frequent Tor-grass Brachypodium pinnatum agg., Upright Brome Bromopsis erecta, Sheep’s Fescue Festuca ovina and Quaking Grass Briza media and smaller amounts of Hairy Oat-grass Avenula pubescens, Meadow Oat-grass Avenula pratensis and Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum.
The two limestone quarries yielded a number of species of open limestone swards including Blue Fleabane Erigeron acris, Ploughman’s Spikenard Inula conyzae, Little Mouse-ear Cerastium semidecandum, Autumn Gentian Gentianella amarella and Squirrel-tail Fescue Vulpia bromoides.
Areas of longer grassland grading into scrub produced other species of interest including locally frequent Wild Liquorice Astragalus glycyphyllos and scattered plants of Grey Sedge Carex divulsa subsp. divulsa and Woolly Thistle Cirsium eriophorum. Several Twayblade Neottia ovata were found in a more shaded area, growing near Blackcurrant Ribes nigrum and redcurrant Ribes rubrum.
Several ancient woodland indicators were recorded from the plantation woodland, including Wood Speedwell Veronica montana, Wood Sorrel Oxalis acetosella and Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. montanum. The plantation and woodyard also had several ‘garden escapes’ including Dame’s Violet Hesperis matronalis (first recorded here by Neil in 2016), Balm Melissa officinalis and Apple-mint Mentha x villosa.
We finished just before the rain arrived, having recorded a total of 220 species, with a significant number of new records for the tetrad. The total number of post-2000 taxa for the tetrad is now 259, which is c. 72% of the total. So a very worthwhile trip which has pushed TF02K into the ‘well-recorded’ category. And we also had excellent views of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers – always a bonus!